Joshua Encourages the People
1 The LORD gave Israel peace from their enemies around them. He made Israel safe. Many years passed, and Joshua became very old. 2 At this time Joshua called a meeting of all the older leaders, heads of families, judges, and officers of the Israelites. Joshua said, “I have grown very old. 3 You have seen what the LORD did to our enemies. He did this to help us. The LORD your God fought for you. 4 Remember that I told you that your people could have the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea in the west. I promised to give you that land, but you don’t control it yet. I have taken the land away from those nations, but they are still living there. 5 But the LORD your God will force the people living there to leave. You will take that land. The LORD will force them to leave, just as he promised.
6 “You must be careful to obey every command written in the Book of the Law* Law Or “Teachings.” of Moses. Never turn away from that law. 7 There are still some people living among us who are not Israelites. They worship their own gods. Don’t become friends with them. Don’t serve or worship their gods. 8 You must continue to follow the LORD your God. You have done this in the past, and you must continue to do it.
9 “The LORD helped you defeat many great and powerful nations. He forced them to leave. No nation has been able to defeat you. 10 With his help, one man from Israel could defeat 1000 enemy soldiers, because the LORD your God fights for you, as he promised. 11 So you must continue to love the LORD your God.
12 “Never stop following him. Don’t become friends with those people who did not leave when you took the land. They are not part of Israel. Don’t marry any of their people. If you become friends with those people, 13 the LORD your God will not help you defeat your enemies. They will become like a trap for you. They will cause you pain—like smoke and dust in your eyes. And you will be forced to leave this good land. The LORD your God gave you this land. But you can lose it if you don’t obey this command.
14 “It is almost time for me to die. You know and really believe that the Lord has done many great things for you. You know that the LORD your God has not failed in any of his promises. He has kept every promise that he has made to us. 15 Every good promise that the LORD your God made to us has come true. But in the same way, the LORD will make his other promises come true: If you do wrong, bad things will happen to you. You will be forced to leave this good land that the LORD your God has given to you. 16 This will happen if you refuse to keep your agreement with the LORD your God. You will lose this land if you go and serve other gods. You must not worship those other gods. If you do, the LORD will become very angry with you. Then you will quickly be forced to leave this good land that he gave you.”
*23:6 Law Or “Teachings.”